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Delores George & Evelyn Umtuch

Lesson 4 – The Warrior: Preparation for War

Goal

To create and utilize all the people who can help me with my battle against diabetes.  Readings, discussions, and activities will help me with planning, preparation, and building a team of people to ensure a successful plan towards taking control of my health.

Activity

Read the Introduction and the following material for Lesson 4

  • Listen to the Radio Interview & read the transcripts of Delores George
  • Read, answer, and discuss questions
  • Do the Change Exercise
  • Use links to access the available resources with this lesson:

What is a Warrior?

Today our warriors have chosen different kinds of weapons to fight the health disparities faced by our Indigenous people, such as using their knowledge to get an education in the medical and health fields, joining and creating their own health groups, learning about nutrition and foods, growing and sharing our traditional foods, creating and participating in workshops that provide emotional and spiritual support or just searching the internet with their children to learn how to find stories, information or activities provided by other tribes.

Warriors of the past took up their weapons to protect their tribe, family, lands and their way of life, now it is a time when we are to engage in the battle against things like diabetes, cancer, HIV, drug & alcohol addiction and all things that are harming ourselves and our children, we as Native people know our history and hardships of today and we can honor our ancestors and warriors who fought to ensure we are here today to continue the traditions and cultures of all tribes.

I have couple of links that lead to a couple of well known battles our Indian people have fought that demonstrates the strength, intelligence, courage, and heart of our ancestors.

When we think of a warrior, we think of someone going to battle much like the warriors who fought against the US military and the first colonizers.  We imagine someone who is prepared with the right weapons, a strong mind, and physically fit, but we sometimes forget that going to war isn’t something the warriors did alone, they would gather into groups, bands, and with other tribal nations.  They would meet and talk about why and how they were going to accomplish their tasks, identify who their leaders were, where things were going to take place, and when they were going to go forward with their plans.

There was much discussion and they also took time to perform ceremonies and obtain spiritual help from the medicine man/woman before they went to battle.  This is an example of how our ancestors prepared themselves before going to war, having a meeting to talk and think things through so that they obtained a positive outcome, listened to other people’s thoughts or suggestions and expressed their own thoughts and ideas so that everyone who was involved was aware of how the plans were going to be implemented to accomplish the goal of preserving the lives of their family and tribe.

With our own health we must find places where we can learn, talk with our leaders both medical and spiritual to help us make wise decisions about how we can plan a successful plan of recovery from the effects of our diseases, gaining knowledge of healing ways, physical health, emotional health, mental health, and spiritual health.

Delores used her tribal ceremonies as a place to gain knowledge, to hear other people’s thoughts, talked with the clinic staff in the diabetes program and her doctor.

Q: So, a similar thing is happening in the spiritual setting that you were talking about, the Medicine Dance, only it’s more like a group, group help in a way.  And so can you imagine what it would be like for you to have diabetes without that, without the longhouse or without the Medicine Dance?

A: Oh geez, I (sigh), I um, would probably be involved with the White community in combating diabetes if I didn’t have these spiritual places to go to.  Because even in the longhouse you hear the people talk about their health, and how they’re fighting diabetes and the depression and um, (clears throat).  But at least they let it out, you know.

Q: So it gives you a sense of, that you’re not alone.

A: Mm hmm.  Well, I talk to the ah, the diabetes people.

Q: So you, what are some of the things you do to encourage your family, your kids and your grandkids to eat right and exercise?  You just lecture them?

A: Yeah!  (talking over)  I just tell them.  Yeah.  I just tell them.  Now that Spring’s here everybody’s outside you know.  Like after school my grandkids are outside playing and doing things and.  But I, I do just encourage them to watch how they, what they eat and get, keep physically fit, you know.

Q: Change is hard.  So how, you know, what’s your secret?  How were you able to do that?

A: Because ah, one of the reasons why I don’t miss meat anymore is because when my husband passed away we had old traditionals come in and restricted my diet.  They says, “No meat.”  And you know, different types of meat food.  They said, “Don’t eat any meat, fresh meat.”  Ah, because the old people would say, “You’re eating your husband’s body by eating fresh meat.”  It was like, to them it was cannibalism in a different sense.  And so after that happened I just literally quit eating meat.  I eat a little bit like with spaghetti or in soups or stews, you know, but never a whole big portion of steaks.  I just stay away from it.  Because if animals can live on greens, so can we, you know.  We don’t need to eat meat, you know.  (chuckles)

Q: That’s really interesting.  The elders, they were not doing that for health reasons.  They were doing that more for, restricting you a meat diet.  They were doing that more for other reasons.

A: Yeah, for the death of my husband.

Evelyn: Traditional values.

Activity I

Historical Background of Tribal Wars

(Either as a group or individually)

Read the articles of the two wars at these websites

The Nez Perce War of 1877: www.nezperce.com/npedu10.html
Western Treasures, 4533 Palisades Park Drive, Billings, Montana, 59106

The Battle of Little Big Horn; www.aaanativearts.com/article652.html

AAA Native Arts.com:

Group:

Have a discussion about the process and importance of involving many people in creating a plan before going to war and make a list of reasons to fight against the effects of diabetes.

Questions:

  1. What can we do to prepare to go to war against diabetes?
  2. Who needs to be included?
  3. Who can help with decisions?
  4. Why do I need to stop diabetes from harming my health?
  5. Where can I find others to help me with this battle?
  6. What are some other things I need to consider?

Individual:

Make a list of who may have been involved in planning a war party and the things they did to prepare before going to war.

Questions:

  1. What can we do to prepare to go to war against diabetes?
  2. Who needs to be included?
  3. Who can help with decisions?
  4. Why do I need to stop diabetes from harming my health?
  5. Where can I find others to help me with this battle?
  6. What are some other things I need to consider?

Activity II

Council Meeting-connecting with our war party

  1. Make a list of all the people that are involved in our health care such as doctors, nurses, counselors, family, community members, medicine men or women, etc.
  2. Make a list of all the medications and write down how these medications are helping you with your diabetes.  This is a way for us to figure out if we really understand what the medicines are doing to help us and how they affect our bodies and life.
  3. After making these lists, meet with your provider or nurse to explain that you would like to learn more about the medications, exercise, and how you can reduce the amount of medications you are taking, or if it is possible.  Begin to be more involved in your battle against diabetes, it’s your war and you should be using as many weapons as possible to win the battle.

Activity III

Reconnecting with Our Environment and Nature

Like the warriors who sought out the medicine man/woman for spiritual healing or help we can find spiritual connection with our environments, by taking a walk and using that time to meditate, think things through that are bothering us, or just to get some fresh air to help our bodies.  The plants, animals, sounds of nature, the air, breeze, rain, and even snow are elements that can help us spiritually, if we let them.

Before you go for your walk

  • Get a notebook with paper, to create a walking and reconnecting journal.
  • On the first page write the date, time you are leaving.
  • While on your walk observe what is in your environment, the animals, weather, people, sounds, plants and colors.
  • Let yourself enjoy the air, sun, sounds, and maybe even take time to touch the trees and plants, thank them for cleaning the air we breathe and providing food for us and the animals.
  • You might meet a neighbor that has something in common with you!
  • When you return home from your walk write the time you returned and also everything you noticed in the environment.
  • Keep this journal and try to go for a walk every day.  You can walk for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or longer depending on how well and safe you feel.

Pictures

Northwestern University Library, Edward S. Curtis’s ‘The North American Indian’: the Photographic Images, 2001.
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html

Lesson 4 – The Warrior: Preparation for War